Map of the southeastern U.S. showing developed metro areas.

Planning for Regional Development

Planning for Regional Development

As globalization transforms economies around the world and more people move into urbanized areas, economic and population growth is increasingly converging. Between now and 2050, more than half of the population growth and as much as two-thirds of economic growth in the United States is projected to occur in interconnected areas known as megaregions. These megaregions—large networks of metropolitan centers and their surrounding areas tied together by economic, environmental, and infrastructure relationships—will serve as the foci of American economic activity.

Applying the contiguity and proximity conditions and boundary conditions for functional regions, 10 megaregions are identified: Cascadia, California, Arizona, Central Plains, Texas Triangle, Florida, Piedmont Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, and DC-Virginia. The 10 megaregions are the results of incorporating both physical and functional relationships between regions into the identification process and considering the areas of influences of core areas.

In addition to advocating for regional governance structures that enhance megaregional links, the Center seeks to improve the land development process and the public policy that guides it by fostering public-private sector ventures that promote sustainable strategies for new development and redevelopment.

The Center brings together various stakeholders -- including governments, developers, the public, and others -- to measure changes in land-use planning that are supportive of quality growth, such as redevelopment of greyfield (empty asphalt) and brownfield (contaminated) sites, and other sustainable land-use practices.

us megaregions

The Architecture of the Megaregion

Sponsor: US Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration| 2011-13

Global interconnectedness, population growth, and trade and industry growth are positioning megaregions as connected cities and places that represent the true economic unit in the global marketplace. Despite megaregions’ economic importance and the fact that some other countries plan at the megaregion scale, the United States has not yet comprehensively implemented megaregion-scale planning. 

CQGRD proposes five ways to incorporate megaregion planning into the federal transportation planning process, with consideration that frameworks should be flexible to accommodate single-state and multi-state megaregions, different project scales, and areas on the megaregion fringe, like borders and gateways. Megaregion planning should strengthen linkages between a variety of types of places.

airport city

Aerotropolis Atlanta Brownfield Health Impact Assessment

Sponsor: Health Impact Project | June 2010-2011

The Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD) conducted a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on redevelopment plans for the site of the former Hapeville Ford Assembly Plant in Hapeville, GA. The 122-acre site is bounded by I-75, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the new residential development of Asbury Park, and downtown Hapeville

The site was deemed a brownfield, and had undergone remediation for potential contaminants. A portion of the site was sold to the City of Atlanta for airport use. The assembly plant is to be redeveloped as ‘Aerotropolis Atlanta’, with over 3 million square feet of office, hotel, shopping and airport parking facilities, as well as a solar energy component.


A Time for Leadership: Growth Management and Florida 2060

Sponsor: 1000 Friends of Florida | June 2006-December 2006

The results of the Florida 2060 research project conducted by the University of Florida show the state of Florida sits at the “tipping point” in regard to land consumption for urban development. Soon, the footprint and pattern of development will be set and without immediate proactive initiatives, the result will be sprawling disconnected subdivisions spread from coast to coast that surround a few isolated wetlands; and the opportunity to build great communities and forever protect natural lands and open space will be lost. To support the New Cornerstone call for growth leadership, this report offers a policy framework and recommendations for land development and preservation planning in Florida.


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